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Ethical Considerations

Justice, Harm & Authority – Oh my!

I ran across a blog post yesterday that lead me to this site on Moral Foundations Theory.

Did your eyes glaze over? Well, focus; this is some interesting stuff.

Some researchers in Virginia have been studying what they refer to as the five foundations (which are really more like spectrums) of morality and how it ties to political identification. Not just left and right, but libertarians too. The interaction portion of the program allows you (the big you, the royal you) to take all their study surveys for yourself. After each one, you get a pretty bar graph explaining how you rank next to other self-identified Liberals and Conservatives.

Before anyone gets all indignant, I encourage a good strong look at what they’re doing. This isn’t about judgment, but understanding. Think about how many times we’ve either been involved with or seen political debates where the two parties can’t seem to get past each other’s defenses. Research and theories like this are ways to help us reframe our perspectives and our opponents’ (for lack of a better word) enabling us to mediate our differences and perhaps come to a more adequate solution to the problems at hand.

Nothing is a panacea and people will continue to be buttheads, but any tool in the arsenal is a good one, right?

FYI: Not surprisingly, I ranked mondo high on the Harm/Care and Justice/Reciprocity scales. (Have you met me? Read my blog? Looked at my website? Sheesh)

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